Lessons in sustainability: The Nigerian way

Lessons in sustainability: The Nigerian way

Nigeria's fashion scene is thriving, driven by international interest and a growing middle class. Traditional textiles like Aso-Oke and Adire, handcrafted by local artisans, are at the heart of sustainable fashion practices. These textiles, rooted in Nigeria's heritage, use eco-friendly materials and techniques.

Dye Lab: Nigerian fashion brands are sidestepping many of the challenges facing the industry with their own homegrown solutions.

Here are Nigerian brands and organisations, that stand for all the right things when it comes to heritage fashion.

Rukky Ladoja founded Grey Projects in Lagos with hopes of creating a large-scale fashion brand for Africa. She realised the impracticality of importing materials and shifted focus to utilising local resources, leading to the launch of Dye Lab, a small-batch craft brand. Dye Lab prioritises responsible practices, such as reusing materials and minimising waste, rather than the wasteful practices of mainstream fashion. The simple silhouettes draw back from the eccentricity of traditional Nigerian style but still nods to elements of heritage throughout the pieces. 

Similarly, brands like This Is Us use traditional methods and sustainable practices, offering timeless garments to promote reuse or repurposing of materials.

This Is Us collaborates with brands like Pith Africa, which up-cycles thrifted jeans to raise awareness about fashion sustainability - advocating for collaboration. Pith is a Lagos-based dual-sex fashion house. 'We create art through fashion and imagery inspired by Africa’s evolving identity.'  The youth-centric label promotes visual storytelling of real people and curates experiences among Africa’s millennials. Pith has sourced denim from indigenous thrift markets around Lagos and worked with local artisans - a true stand to both social and environmentally sustainable practice.

Pith Africa - Modernising Nigerian Heritage fashion 

One of the most style-obsessed cities in Africa, Lagos also has one of the world’s most vibrant fashion weeks. Events like Nigeria Fashion Week and Africa Fashion Week London provide platforms for Nigerian designers to showcase their creativity and talent, promoting the use of locally made fabrics and accessories. These initiatives are shaping Nigeria's fashion industry into a sustainable and culturally rich ecosystem.

Moving forward,  it's clear the future of sustainable fashion in Nigeria relies on using local materials and modernising traditional processes to minimise waste and environmental impact. We are heading in the right direction, but we need to continue to give heritage fashion the exposure it deserves. 

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